What is immunity?
Your immune system is a defence system against viruses, bacteria and parasites, which is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs.
A healthy immune system helps to protect you against infection by creating a barrier to prevent illness in the first place, or to fight infection and aid speedy recovery. Good immunity starts in the gut as the lining of the digestive system is the first barrier against most germs, so having a healthy level of good bacteria here is important.
What are the common immune system problems?
Frequent infections, whether colds, stomach problems or urine infections, are a sign that your immune system is not working as it should.
Around 80 percent of infections are transmitted through sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces that have been sneezed or coughed on. Colds and flu are more common during winter when people are more crowded together indoors.
Too much alcohol can suppress the immune system and increase the risk of catching a bug. When we feel depressed, our immune system also tends to be depressed. But the most frequent cause of a depressed immune system is a lack of nutrients in the diet.
How to boost your immune system
Stay active and fit to increase white cell activity against viruses: even just a ten minute walk can help. Get plenty of sleep and rest so that your body can repair and heal itself and ward off infections.
A good diet means good health, so it’s important to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein, and avoid too much sugar, fats, and alcohol. Always wash your hands before handling food and eating – and always wash vegetables and fruit before preparing them. You need vitamin D for a strong immune system, as it’s so important for vitamin C absorption, so try to enjoy 15 minutes of sunlight a day.